Hynes keeps skills on ice during the summer

GUILDERLAND — Tyler Hynes took no break for summer vacation.
Instead of resting while not in school, he took part in the summer pastime of — ice hockey"

Hynes took to the ice instead of lounging around this summer and the 13-year-old had one of the greatest experiences in his young life.

Hynes tried out for and made it to the USA Hockey Select 14 Player Development Camp. The camp was held in July in Rochester and featured the best 14-year-olds in the country. Hynes will turn 14 in November.
"It’s definitely the biggest thing I’ve ever done in sports, period," Hynes said at his home in Guilderland on Friday. "It was a lot of fun and I had more down time than I thought. We have two on ice sessions."

Hynes went to the camp after rehabbing an injured shoulder.

There were 12 teams of players at the camp with 21 players on each team. Hynes played on the black team coached by Al Bloomer, USA Hockey’s National Coach-in-Chief.

Hynes and his team played against five of the other 11 teams during the week-long camp. Practices were also held each day.
"He started half the day on Sunday and went until the next Saturday," Hynes said. "We did some off-ice stuff, like team-oriented playing."

Each practice was planned with a specific focus such as days spent on offensive and defensive concepts and practices spent on individual skills.
"We played a game a day," Hynes said. "We played five different teams."

Try outs

Hynes tried out for the camp in April in Syracuse. Youth hockey in New York is split into four different zones — Northern, Western, Eastern, and Central. Hynes skated as part of the Northern zone. He went to Massena for the Northern zone tryout and was one of five skaters and one goalie who qualified to try out in Syracuse with the other top players in their zones.
"It was one day and we played two games," Hynes said. "And we did some off-ice workouts like pull ups and quickness and agility drills."

Three states — New York, Massachusetts, and Michigan — have enough hockey players to be their own district within USA Hockey — and Hynes was selected to represent the state at the national camp.
"The Massachusetts zone had its own bus," Hynes said.
"Just 1 percent of the hockey players in the age group got to go to Rochester," Hynes’s mother Robin said. "There were 150 kids. One in 538 kids that participate in youth hockey get to go to the camp.
"He is the only player from this area to go to nationals," Robin Hynes added.

Only three players from the Northern zone in New York made it to the USA Hockey camp.

Hynes said that it was great to meet players from different parts of the country. Next year, Hynes hopes to make the Select 15 camp in St. Cloud, Minn. He’ll have to try out all over again.

Born to skate

Hynes started playing hockey when he was 3.
"I was a fat little kid," he said. "I needed exercise so I threw on skates."
"We did a lot in the summer," Robin Hynes said. "My parents are into winter sports. The first time he was on skates, it was like he was born on them."

Skating is in Hynes’s genes. Robin Hynes’s mother and father were world-class skaters.
"In the 1940s, they both were on the national team in speedskating," Robin Hynes said.

Norma and Mike Heidt of Long Island were Olympic-quality athletes but did not get to compete at the highest level.
"The 1944 Olympics were called off," Robin Hynes said. "That would have been their claim to fame."

A member of the Heidt family did get to compete in the winter Olympics.

Adam Heidt finished fourth in the 1998 Nagano Olympics. It was the best finish for an American male in the single luge.

Hynes does not limit his athleticism to hockey. In the spring and summer, he plays baseball. He was on the modified team at Guilderland and also played on the Babe Ruth 13’s All-star team that advanced to the finals of the Eastern New York State tournament.

Hynes also played soccer when he was younger, but gave up that sport for hockey.
"I had to quit soccer because hockey is all-year round," Hynes said. "Baseball fit in the two months of break I have from hockey."

There is also another reason for playing baseball as well as hockey.
"My dad loves baseball," Hynes said. "He has always helped coach my teams. We won districts and finished second at states."

Expert help

When Tyler’s parents realized he was a good skater, they took him to see Dave Randall in Troy.
"He does a good job with kid’s skating," Robin Hynes said. "He is the hockey-skating guru of the Northeast. He is in our backyard in Troy. We would go over there a couple of times a week."

Dave and Seth Randall run North American Hockey Systems in Troy.

When he was 6, Hynes played in the house league — recreational league — at the old Bethlehem Ice Group Arena just outside of Delmar.

He played travel hockey for the Capital Youth Hockey League for a few years.
"Last year, we did not have a team," Hynes said. "The team broke up."

So Hynes decided to join the Westchester Express travel team.
"I went down for a try out and I made it," Hynes said.

Hynes will play for Westchester, based in Brewster, this fall and will try out for the high school team at Guilderland in November even though he will be an eighth-grader.

The Westchester team will provide travel opportunities for Hynes. The Express play in two big tournaments — the Silver Stick Tournament and the Nike-Bauer Tournament — and also play in Chicago.
"The best teams in the country are in those tournaments," Hynes said. "Also the number-one and number-two teams in the country are both in the Northeast. We play them a lot."

The Westchester team plays a split season. It starts in the fall and goes until November when the players on the team can try out for their high school teams. When the high school season is finished in February, the Westchester team gets back together and plays in the state tournament for travel teams.

College is his goal

In the future, Hynes could chose either to go to a prep school or play for a junior team such as the Capital District Selects.

He even has thoughts of playing juniors in Canada, but that would deter him from one of his main goals.
"If I play juniors in Canada, I can’t play in college," Hynes said.

Canadian junior teams pay their players small amount, but that would violate NCAA rules.
"I want to play Division I hockey on a scholarship," Hynes said. "That is my main goal."

There are only 60 Division I hockey-playing colleges in the country — including local colleges Union and the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
"We want him to remain a good student," Robin Hynes said. "A lot of the best players don’t have the best grades."

Hynes has balanced books and hockey even though he is dedicated to the sport.
"I have always liked it," he said. "I realized I loved it during my first year of travel. I played pretty well."
"We knew he was a good player," Robin Hynes said. "But we realized that he could play with the best of the best when he made the USA camp. He had a great try-out and we thought, ‘Wow, he could be something.’ Before the tryouts, for us, we thought he had a 20-percent chance of making it to the camp. But then he started taking it to guys, we thought he had a 70-percent chance."

Hynes was just happy to be back on the ice. He had broken his shoulder and came back for the tryouts for the national camp.

Before the tryouts, he was just doing cardio-vascular workouts.
"It really helped out, actually," Hynes said of his injury. "I went to the tryouts in primo shape."

The right-handed shooting winger took advantage of his opportunity to get back on the ice, by having a couple of good tryouts.

Hynes loves the creativity of hockey and likes the play of Sidney Crosby of the National Hockey League’s Pittsburgh Penguins. He also likes the Nashville Predators and Washington Capital Alex Ovechkin.
"I like to take after Sidney Crosby," Hynes said of the NHL’s reigning most valuable player. "He is not the biggest player but he can take a hit. He’s skillful but tough."

Hynes plays hockey nine months out of the year and five to six days a week.
"At the end of the season," Hynes said, "I’m not happy it’s over, but it is a nice break."

He also gets excited about the baseball season; as a pitcher and third baseman, he has also been successful.

But when the weather turns cold, he is excited for the hockey season to begin. Hynes is attracted to the creativity that a hockey player can have on the ice.

He also has found something that he is really good at and can compete at the highest level.
"We’re beginning to see what he can accomplish," Robin Hynes said.
"And I want to keep working towards it," Tyler Hynes concluded.

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